How to Winterize Bee Hives

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Make grease patties and place them between the food and brood supers.,
Use screening for the bottom board.,
Attach sticky cardboard to the mesh base to test for varroa mites.,
Treat your colony for varroa mites.,
Install entrance reducers and mouse guards.,
Install a bear-proof electric fence.

Mix one part vegetable oil with three parts confectioners sugar by hand or using a kitchen mixer. Form a handful-sized amount into a patty. Remove the food super, place two to four patties on top of the brood super’s frames, then put the food super back into place above the brood super.Grease patties will help prevent tracheal mites.

, The bottom board is the hive box’s base and sits above the hive stand. It’s become common for beekeepers to use a meshed bottom board instead of solid wood. In addition to providing ventilation, a screened base lets varroa mites fall through and exit the hive. This reduces the risk of colony-wide infection., A screened bottom board can also help you assess your colony for varroa mites. Attach cardboard coated with any sticky substance, like a sugar syrup, to the underside of the mesh. Check it regularly during warmer temperatures for any varroa mites, which are tiny eight-legged mites visible to the naked eye, that have gotten stuck on the cardboard., If you’ve used sticky cardboard and have detected only a few varroa mites, your bees’ standard hygiene routine will likely keep them from infesting. If you’ve found hundreds or thousands of mites stuck on your cardboard, consider using a chemical insecticide marked for varroa mite eradication.You can find pesticide online or a nearby bee farm. Be sure to use any chemicals you purchase as directed. See a list of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved products here: https://www.epa.gov/pollinator-protection/epa-registered-pesticide-products-approved-use-against-varroa-mites-bee-hives.
If you want to avoid using chemicals, you can simply sprinkle powdered sugar over your bees and hive’s frames to encourage their own self-cleaning.

, Entrance reducers and mouse guards can be made of either notched wood blocks or mesh. Install them in the fall when there’s less traffic coming in and out of the hive. They should fit into the hive box at the base’s exits and entrances just above the bottom board.As swarming season ends and fall sets in, bees will guard their hive’s entrances against honey robbers from rival bee colonies. In addition to helping them do this, entrance reducers also will help keep mice out during winter.

, Use an electric fence with two hot wires to keep out bears and any other predators that might come for your bee hive. Place the first wire about 6 inches (15 centimeters) above the ground to deter smaller predators. Post another wire about 3 feet (1 meter) above the ground to deter bears.

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